Leon Bailey scored the only goal of the game but the scoreline flattered the champions. Never before has a Guardiola side attempted only two shots in a game throughout his senior management career, highlighting the problems plaguing his side.
The City boss has hit back at claims his team have lost motivation since winning the treble last season and only on Tuesday did he insist he felt they were capable of winning an unprecedented fourth title in a row.
Losing at Villa, however, means Guardiola has now gone four games without a win since beginning life as a top-level manager at Barcelona in 2008.
They are now down to fourth and six points behind leaders Arsenal, who underlined their title credentials by scoring late to beat Luton on Tuesday night.
"Aston Villa played better," he said.
"The first half we didn't move in possession and the second half was much, much better and we had chances, but we struggled to find the pass and movements in the right moments.
"After the deflection [for Bailey’s goal], we have scored four or five goals with deflections so it is what it is and we have to accept Aston Villa was better and go to Luton.
"Rodri [who missed the game due to suspension] is an important player of course but when he is not there we have to find a way to win without him.
“Six points [off the top] and we would prefer to be top of the league but we made three draws and lose today.
"In these years we have found a way to win games but we struggled a bit and we have to find a way. It is my job to find a solution. The dynamic changes by winning games. When a team is better you have to recognise it."